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Building Materials

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Your guide to various building materials

Shopping for building materials can be a little bit overwhelming. In addition to a full set of tools, do-it-yourselfers will need to purchase a variety of different materials including lumber, fasteners, roofing supplies, concrete and drywall. Building a home is an arduous process, but with the right tools and materials, it can be done, and done right.

Homebuilding size

The type and size of the house will certainly dictate what types of materials and tools will be required. Carpentry tools and lumber will be a necessity for nearly every step of the homebuilding process. Bathrooms will require tiling tools, cutters and various types of grout. Home design plans and calculations should be completed months in advance. This will allow home-builders plenty of time to compare prices between different supply stores, lumber yards and material distributors.

Concrete foundation

Homebuilders will first have to determine how much concrete they will need. Sometimes, it’s most economical to hire a truck. Small slabs can be poured with do-it-yourself concrete mixes. Other required materials include rebar, water, shovels, rakes, foundation anchors, trowels and vapor barriers. Pouring the foundation is the most important step in home-building, so it should be done very carefully and exactly to specifications.


Lumber is one of the largest expenses when building a home. Wood can be purchased at home improvement stores or lumber yards. It’s important to inspect all planks and boards prior to buying them. Only the straightest boards should be used for home-building. Warped boards can cause trouble for do-it-yourselfers. It’s also imperative to choose the best possible wood available. For example, knotted boards should not be used as structural beams.


Building a house requires a lot of drywall as well. There are a variety of different brands to choose from. Some brands make great choices because their products are fire-resistant. Those in humid climates should consider moisture-resistant greenboards or blueboards. The environmentally conscious home-builder will appreciate these recycled products. Since drywall is one of the most used materials in the home-building process, it’s important to choose the best type for one’s climate and project.

Roofing materials

There are a variety of different types of roofing materials. Shingles are a very popular choice among modern home-builders. Slate, hardwood, galvanized steel and copper are also potential options. In addition, it's necessary to purchase tar paper and trusses to ensure the roof is properly constructed. Special fasteners will also be needed.


It’s critical to get the right fasteners for the job. Screws are typically preferred over nails for many home-building projects. It may be helpful to speak with a sales professional prior to purchasing fasteners. A friendly contractor may also be able share some valuable information. Building a home is a laborious, but rewarding process for savvy do-it-yourselfers.

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